I’ve been interested in using Ozobots in my science lessons ever since I saw this tweet of Ozobots being used to model different types of eclipses.
Following on from a previous post, here is a student example of the #ozobot eclipse project. Students used the photos app on #surfacepro to digitally ink over a video of their experiment. @Ozobot @MSAUedu #mieexpert @MicrosoftEDU pic.twitter.com/gTr1wiLQ3p
— Laura Bain (@larubain) August 2, 2018
I really liked how the Ozobots were being used to create a moving model of eclipses, which is quite difficult to do without coded robots that automatically move (I have never found children holding basketballs and moving around another child holding a torch work well).
This term our school got hold of some Ozobots through the STEMShare initiative and I was able to test out how Ozobots can be used to enhance students’ understanding of the nitrogen cycle. Matter cycles through ecosystems, particularly the nitrogen cycle, can be quite difficult to conceptualise. Common activities include showing students diagrams of the nitrogen cycle, videos and getting students to physically model the cycle by pretending to be nitrogen particles themselves. However, just like eclipses, Ozobots provide an opportunity for students to create an annotated moving model to better visualise the processes.
So last Friday, my Year 9s used Ozobots to create a narrated video explanation of the nitrogen cycle with the Ozobot acting as a nitrogen particle. Here’s one of the videos.
Watching the videos Year 9s made with the @STEM_Share robotics kit to model the nitrogen cycle. We used the HP laptop/tablets in the kit to film the video. @ryannoonan5 @pipcleaves pic.twitter.com/SyK5Od3Y43
— Alice Leung (@aliceleung) October 26, 2018
The videos were created in an 80 minute lesson. What I really liked about using the Ozobots was that it gave students the opportunity to work in teams and talk to each other about the nitrogen cycle. They worked in teams of 2 to 3 students draw the map, negotiate the narration and film the video. The activity gave them an opportunity to test and clarify their understanding of the nitrogen cycle with each other. The activity allowed students to determine if they really understand the nitrogen cycle. Prior to this, we had already done many other activities of the nitrogen cycle (worksheets, question and answer sessions, quizzes) and many students were confident they understood the nitrogen cycle. However, when it came to creating the narrated video with the Ozobots, many found that they didn’t know the nitrogen cycle as well as they thought they did.
Next time, I would also ask students to create a map so that the Ozobot wouldn’t be travelling in a nice unidirectional cycle but back-and-forth through different components of the ecosystem.